Shell to increase polyol capacity at its Singapore complex

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Royal Dutch Shell has taken a final investment decision tol increase production capacity at its Singapore petrochemical plant to meet demand for specialized materials used in the automotive and furniture industries, as per the company's press release.

The upgrade will increase the plant's capacity to produce polyols -- industrial chemicals used to make high-quality foams -- by more than 100,000 metric tpy to 360,000 tpy. The project is expected to be completed in 2014.

"The Asia Pacific market for polyols has grown rapidly over the years and we see increasing demand for higher-comfort products," said Shell Chemicals executive vice president Graham van't Hoff.

"The additional volume and grades from this Singapore investment will enable us to meet customer demand growth from key markets in Asia, particularly China," he added.

As MRC informed earlier, Shell announced in mid-November that it will upgrade its petrochemical plant in Singapore to meet rising demand for ethylene in Asia. The upgrade will increase the plant's capacity to produce olefins and aromatics industrial chemicals used to make plastic, paint and other products by more than 20%. The upgrade will take place during the next maintenance turn-around of the ethylene cracker.

Polyols are compounds with multiple hydroxyl functional groups available for organic reactions. Polymeric polyols are generally used to produce other polymers. They are reacted with isocyanates to make polyurethanes used to make mattresses, foam insulation for appliances, home and automotive seats, elastomeric shoe soles, fibers, and adhesives.

Royal Dutch Shell plc is an Anglo-Dutch multinational oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the biggest company in the world in terms of revenue and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". Shell is vertically integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading.

Exxon Mobil Q4 profit rises

MOSCOW (MRC) - Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, reported a higher-than-expected 6% increase in quarterly profit on stronger results at its chemical and refining businesses, said Reuters.

The Irving, Texas company said profit in the fourth quarter was USD9.95 billion, or USD2.20 per share, compared with USD9.4 billion, or USD1.97 per share, in the same period a year earlier.

"The beat was in downstream and chemicals," said Brian Youngberg, energy company analyst at Edward Jones in Saint Louis. "That's a common theme we are seeing."

Oil and gas output fell 5.2% to 4.29 million barrels oil equivalent per day, Exxon said.

Profit at Exxon's exploration and production business fell 12% to USD7.76 billion. At its chemicals unit, profit more than doubled to USD958 million, and refining earnings were USd1.77 billion, up sharply from USD425 million a year earlier.

Analysts at Barclays had expected refining earnings of USD1.53 billion and a chemicals profit of USD786 million.

Shares of Exxon edged up to USD90.60 in premarket trading, from Thursday's New York Stock Exchange close of USD89.97.

As MRC wrote earlier, in January, ExxonMobil started operations at one of the world's largest ethylene steam crackers, the centerpiece of the company's multi-billion dollar expansion project at its Singapore petrochemical complex.

ExxonMobil is the largest non-government owned company in the energy industry and produces about 3% of the world's oil and about 2% of the world's energy.


Pemex explosion caused by methane gas accumulation

MOSCOW (MRC) -- An accumulation of gas caused the blast at the headquarters of Mexican state oil monopoly Pemex, killing at least 37 people, as per The Guardian.

According to the preliminary results of the investigation, the gas that exploded was possibly methane, said Mexican Attorney General Jesus Murillo said late Monday. Manmade explosives ruled out as cause of blast.

Investigators are still working to determine where the gas came from, and whether or not there was anyone to blame.

As MRC informed previously, Mexican officials privately said there was no early indication of sabotage in the blast. There were a number of outages at the company's petrochemical complex last year, which were caused by technical problems. However, Pemex said that the explosion at the company's headquarters did not affect the operations at its plants.

Pemex, Mexican Petroleum, is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. Pemex has a total asset worth of USD415.75 billion, and is the world's second largest non-publicly listed company by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009. Company produces such polymers, as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS).

SIBUR and IES Holding entered into a long-term partneship

MOSCOW (MRC) -- SIBUR's CEO Dmitry Konov and President of Integrated Energy Systems Boris Vainzikher signed a Strategic Memorandum to boost energy efficiency of SIBUR's petrochemicals production, according to the company's press release.

The Memorandum outlines a comprehensive action plan aimed at more efficient power supplies to SIBUR's production facilities from IES Holding's power plants located near Perm, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, and in other Russian regions.

In February, the companies plan to sign a long-term contract that will see IES's TGC-6 deliver heat to RusVinyl, a joint venture PVC plant of SIBUR and SolVin under construction. As tentatively agreed by the parties, TGC-6's Novogorkovskaya CHPP is to provide RusVinyl with an annual 500,000 Gcal of steam and hot water and 1.5 mt of desalinated water over the next ten years.

As MRC reported earlier, SIBUR launched a sales office in Ekaterinburg to facilitate distribution of its basic polymers across the Urals Federal District. The representative office will market SIBUR's polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) both to large industrial consumers and SME customers.

IES Holding (Integrated Energy Systems) is Russia's largest private heat and power generation and supply company. The key areas of its business include: power generation, energy trading, and retail distribution of heat and power.

SIBUR owns and operates Russia’s largest gas processing business in terms of associated petroleum gas processing volumes, according to IHS CERA and is a leader in the Russian petrochemicals industry. The Group has two operating and reportable segments: feedstock and energy, and petrochemicals. The Group sells these energy products on the Russian and international markets and uses some of them as feedstock for its petrochemicals segment, which processes them into various petrochemicals, including basic polymers, synthetic rubbers, plastics and products of organic synthesis, as well as intermediates and other chemicals.

RusVinyl is a joint venture created by Russian and Belgian partners to construct and operate a PVC and caustic soda production facility near Kstovo in the Nizhny Novgorod Region. The JV partners are SIBUR and Belgium's SolVin, a leading European producer of PVC. SolVin is a joint venture of Solvay (75%), an international chemical and pharmaceutical group, and Germany's BASF (25%). The new facility will have an annual production capacity of 330,000 tonnes of PVC and 235,000 tonnes of caustic soda. Now, the project (including designing, equipment and supplies procurement, and construction) is over 70% completed.

Strike at Sabic Dutch chemical plant hits its production

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sabic, one of the largest petrochemical producers in the world, has announced that a labor strike at one of its plants in Europe resulted in a decline in its output, according to The National.

The decrease in production at the Sabic Europe Chemicals plant located in the Dutch city of Geleen began January 31 due to a proactive measure taken by the union workforce as a consequence of no finalized agreement regarding work conditions, Sabic said in a statement posted on the Saudi bourse website.

"Sabic is keen on protecting its investments, and considers all other options available; it is not possible to determine the financial effect or the effect on production capacity, at this time," it added.

The Saudi giant petrochemicals maker has announced fourth quarter net profits of 5.83 billion riyals (USD1.55 bln), an 11.3% increase compared to 2011, as MRC informed earlier. Despite the quartely increase, the company said 2012 net income had dropped by 15.5% to 24.72 billion riyals (USD6.59 billion) from 29.24 billion riyals the year before.

Sabic Europe Petrochemicals, headquartered in Sittard, focuses on polyolefins production. It operates a network of sales offices and three production sites located in Geleen, in the UK's Teesside, and in Germany's Gelsenkirchen, according to the statement. In Geleen, Sabic has two naphtha crackers and several polymerisation plants to produce polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP). Geleen produces 1.25 million tpa of ethylene, 725,000 tpa of propylene, 940,000 tpa of polyethylene, and 620,000 tpa of polypropylene.